Shop of Charles Cressent, Paris, France. Commode (Chest of Drawers), 1745-1749. Oak, pine, tulip, amaranth, satinwood, kingwood, marble, and copper alloy with mercury gilding; 35 3/4 x 63 3/16 x 24 3/4 inches (90.81 x 160.5 x 62.87 cm). Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, 65-19. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art ©2012 Nelson Gallery Foundation
The marquetry process used on this commode, a chest of drawers, combines rare and exotic woods in contrasting colors to create intricate patterns. Light and dark woods join together in a geometric diamond design that serves as a background for the elaborate applied ormolu (gilded bronze) mounts. Charles Cressent trained with his father, a sculptor, and his grandfather, an ébéniste, or a cabinetmaker who specialized in veneered furniture. Cressent often designed and cast the mounts in his own shop despite strict guild regulations that prohibited metal craftsmen from working in the shop of an ébéniste. These ormolu mounts bear the C couroneé(crowned C) stamp that was employed as the tax mark in France from 1745-1749, thus allowing a fairly exact dating for the chest.